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Homescience - Songs For Sick Days

  by Gary Wollen

published: 7 / 1 / 2003



Homescience - Songs For Sick Days
Label: Track And Field
Format: CD

intro

Debut release on Track and Field label by Homescience, the project of Edinburgh's Andrew Ward, which, while inspired by the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, hass uniquey individuality as well


I’m ashamed to say that I know absolutely nothing about Homescience. Every piece of information that I have gleaned has been stolen from the Pennyblackmusic website. When just before Christmas this CD was thrust into my sweaty palm at a gig, I was vaguely aware of the name but not their creative output. This is another fine release from those Track & Field types who are building a fine cannon of quality and interesting bands. This album follows hot on the heels of excellent records by Of Montreal and The Great Lakes. Homescience from what I can gather is the work of one Andrew Ward who perfects his art form in a tiny hamlet called Edinburgh, wherever that is? Only joking! This is their second album and already I’m on the trail of the first one to add to my collection. On first listening, this album, as a coagulated whole, sounds like a hundred records that I own. It is cut from that widely recognised template of Scottish song writing excellence whose pedigree runs through Teenage Fanclub, Superstar, Postcard Records and the BMX Bandits. It is that love of the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers crafted together with good soul music that welds often disparate influences into a musical pluralism. It is a credit to the makers of this album that I can think of a hundred different records and that quite honestly, as a whole, this album doesn’t sound like any individual one of them. The bare bones of this work is an elementary piano technique that gives the album the feel of classic late sixties, early seventies song writing sensibilities. Think of the presence and aura created by Tapestry and The Plastic Ono Band. The piano, sparse and economical, is often reflective, but, and here’s the clever part, incredibly uplifting. The songs, all twenty-two of them, seem to fly by. Indeed many are very short, but crammed with delicious hooks that demand one’s attention. The tunes are everything. Each melody swims in an evocative sea, kept buoyant by a mixture of simple tunes and a pot pourri of musical and sonic textures. I will briefly describe some of the tracks just to whet your appetite and to illustrate just how this album moves around and plays games with one's perception. ‘Don’t Shirk’ has a real Beach Boys feel to it, hinted at by the snare stabs and short plucked bass notes before a wonderful discordant chorus. When I say discordant I mean it in a dreamy spectral way. The bass scales grinds as it descends before the song climaxes with a kazoo solo. Top stuff! While ‘Helium Balloons’ is as great a pop song as you’re going to hear. It reminds me, if only fleetingly, of ‘The Loving Spoonful’ in a lo-fi heaven. The refrain is quite simply heart warming. At various times during the playing of this album I am reminded of The Moldy Peaches, ‘Heartbeat’ by Buddy Holly and the general atmosphere of ‘The White Album’ by …well you know. This is a fine way to start the New Year and to suggest an essential purchase for song lovers all over the world. Remember the name Homescience; I think collectively we’ll be hearing a lot more from them and quite rightly so.



Track Listing:-
1 Little Wings
2 Don't Shirk
3 Soup And America
4 Livin Whiskey
5 Helium Balloons
6 Ride Your Crocodile And Burn What's Left
7 Please Let Me Down
8 Howard Hughes Song
9 Mart In



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Jungling (2004)
Perfect pop harmonies on second album from Edinburgh's Homescience, which finds them gracefully coming of age
Songs For Sick Days (2003)


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